Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Jan. 10, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 98.
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107th Congress
1/9. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) will be Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary (CJS). This Subcommittee has within its jurisdiction most of the executive branch agencies involved in technology related matters, including the FCC, FTC, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of Commerce (DOC). The FCC is evolving from a New Deal era telecom regulator into a broad communications and Internet regulatory agency. The FTC has antitrust authority, and is increasingly becoming involved in online consumer fraud and online privacy issues. The SEC facilitates online stock trading, and polices Internet securities fraud. The DOJ's Antitrust Division brought the Microsoft antitrust case, and handles other antitrust matters. The DOJ also is the location of the NIPC, which alerts of, and responds to, viruses and other threats. The DOJ also has the CCIPS, which on rare occasions prosecutes computer related crimes and intellectual property crimes. The DOC is home to the NTIA, which has spectrum management authority (including a lead role in identifying and allocating spectrum for 3G wireless services), and which awards grants to facilitate broadband Internet access deployment in underserved areas. The DOC is also home to the USPTO, which is funded solely by user fees. For years, the Appropriations Committees, and the Congress, have been diverting some of these fees to subsidize other government programs, over the stringent opposition of the intellectual property communities. In June of 2000 Rep. Wolf voted in favor of Rep. Coble's amendment to reduce the amount of the diversion. Rep. Wolf represents a district in northern Virginia that is home to many high tech workers and tech companies, and can be expected to be more supportive of a high tech agenda than his predecessor.
1/9. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), the newly selected Chairman of the House Commerce Committee named Ken Johnson to be the Communications Director and Spokesman for the Committee. Johnson has been the press assistant in Rep. Tauzin's office for eight years. Prior to that he worked as a journalist, including as a news director, news anchor and political reporter for TV stations.
1/9. The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) urged the Senate to confirm Rod Paige as Secretary of Education. SIIA President Ken Wasch also advocated dedicating "resources to train a new generation of high-tech workers, including through public-private partnerships that provide opportunities and relevant curriculum" See, release. Paige has been the Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) since 1994. He was elected to the HISD Board of Education in 1989 and served as its President in 1992. Previously, he was Dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University.  
New Documents
USCA: Opinion in ASCENT v. FCC, 1/9 (TXT, USCA).
Axcelsis: complaint for patent infringement against Applied Materials, 1/8 (PDF, Axcelsis).
CO: announcement of the 6 month negotiation period for the adjustment of royalty rates, 1/9 (TXT, FedReg).
SEC: speech by Jackson Day on accounting procedures, 1/8 (HTML, SEC).
Updated Sections
Calendar (updated).
News from Around the Web (updated).
Quote of the Day
"... tortured statutory interpretation ..."

Judge Laurence Silberman, describing the FCC's construction of the Telecom Act of 1996 in his opinion in ASCENT v. FCC, Jan. 9.
News Briefs
1/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion in ASCENT v. FCC vacating the FCC's order in its SBC Ameritech merger proceeding permitting SBC to offer advanced services, such as DSL, through a separate affiliate. Judge Silberman, writing for a unanimous three judge panel, wrote: "... Congress did not treat advanced services differently from other telecommunications services. ... It did not limit the regulation of telecommunications services to those services that rely on the local loop. For that reason the Commission may not permit an ILEC to avoid 251(c) obligations as applied to advanced services by setting up a wholly owned affiliate to offer those services. Whether one concludes that the Commission has actually forborne or whether its interpretation of "successor or assign" is unreasonable, the conclusion is the same: The Commission's interpretation of the Act's structure is unreasonable. The order of the Federal Communications Commission is vacated." The ASCENT, a national trade association representing telecommunications providers and resellers, opposed the merger application, and filed a petition for review of the FCC order approving the merger of Ameritech and SBC. The order allowed the merged company to avoid statutory resale obligations on certain advanced telecommunications services by providing those services through a subsidiary. The FCC determined that advanced services are telecommunications services like any others and may not be provided by an ILEC unless the ILEC complies with 251(c). However, FCC relied on the "successor or assign" language of the statute to create an exception for separate affiliates.
1/9. Verizon filed an application with the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission in which it stated that it plans to file a Section 271 application with the FCC to offer long distance service in the state. See, release.
1/9. Novell announced that the U.S. District Court (EDCal) awarded it over $600,000 in a case against Chris Bonner for copyright infringement. Bonner used alias accounts on eBay's auction site to sell unlicensed copies of Novell's Net services software. See, release.
1/9. The Copyright Office (CO) published in the Federal Register an announcement of the six month negotiation period for the adjustment of royalty rates and terms for the public performance of copyrighted sound recordings by preexisting subscription services and preexisting satellite digital audio radio services. The announcement also requests parties participating in the negotiations to notify the CO. See, Federal Register, Jan. 9, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 6, pages 1700 - 1701.
1/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) heard oral argument in Sunrise Telecom v. Electrodata, Appeal No. 00-1017. This is an appeal from a final judgment of the U.S. District Court (NDCal) in a patent infringement case. The trial court found infringement of a patent concerning hand held telecom line testers. 
1/8. Jackson Day, Deputy Chief Accountant of the SEC gave a speech titled "Current Activities of the Office of the Chief Accountant" in which he discussed revenue recognition and other hot issues at the SEC.
1/8. The USPTO's Office of Enrollment and Discipline extended from Jan. 5, 2001, to Friday, Jan. 12, 2001, the deadline for filing complete applications for admission to the registration examination being given on April 18, 2001. See, notice [PDF]. 
Editor's Note: This column includes all News Briefs added to Tech Law Journal since the last Daily E-Mail Alert. The date indicates when the event occurred, not the date of posting to Tech Law Journal.
New Lawsuits
1/8. Axcelis filed a complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (DMass) against Applied Materials alleging patent infringement regarding an invention for making semiconductor devices. Both Axcelis and Applied make ion implantation equipment. Axcelis owns U.S. Patent No. 4,667,111, titled "Accelerator for Ion Implantation", which claims an invention for high energy ion implantation devices using rf LINAC technology. Axcelsis alleges that Applied's recently launched ion implanter called "SWIFT" infringes this patent. Count 1 alleges infringement of the patent in suit. Count 2 alleges tortious interference with contract. Axcelsis alleges that the inventor, Hilton Glavish, signed a contract to "do everything legally possible to aid" Axcelsis and to "obtain and enforce patent protection in all countries", and that Applied caused Glavish to breach this contract, by having him assist in the development of the infringing machine. Count 3 alleges tortious interference with prospective advantageous business relationships. Count 4 alleges unfair competition and unfair trade practices. Axcelsis seeks a declaration that Applied has infringed its patent, a preliminary and permanent injunction against infringement, an injunction against  interfering with contractual business relationships and unfair competition, and money damages. Axcelsis is represented by Thomas Holt of the Boston office of the law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. See also, Axcelis release.
10:00 AM. Oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) in Intellectual Property Development v. TCI Cablevision of California. This is an appeal from a final judgment of the U.S. District Court (CDCal) in a patent infringement case. The patent in suit relates to hybrid coax fiber architecture. The trial court dismissed on the grounds that the appellant lacked standing to sue. Both sides appealed. (The basis upon which the suit is dismissed bears upon the application of six years damages window provided by 35 U.S.C. 286). Location: Federal Circuit, 717 Madison Place (on LaFayette Square), Courtroom 402.
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's Legislation Committee will host a Brown Bag Lunch. Paula Ford, assistant to Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), and Paul Margie, assistant to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) will speak. Location: National Public Radio, 635 Massachusetts Ave. NW. RSVP to
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